Friday, April 15, 2011

WTF New York Times?

On March 8th, an article was posted on the New York Times website about an 11 year old being gang raped. Not only was it disgustingly skewed to blame the victim for dressing and acting older than she was, but it sympathized with the 18 rapists. The writer, JamesMcKinley, bemoans the tearing apart of their community and families and asks "how could their young men be drawn to such an act?" Seriously? You are saying that the boys were forced to rape a young girl? By what logic? And a hospital worker said, "It just destroyed our community" and "These boys have to live with this for the rest of their lives." I am beyond disgusted. What about the girl who has to live with the experience of being violently and sexually assaulted by 18 men? I was extremely angry with the obvious misogyny and sympathy towards rapists. I don't care what a girl or woman is wearing. She doesn't deserve to be raped nor is the rape the fault of her fashion choices. Here is a much more awesome and researched article on the New York Times article and how rape is generally treated in our culture.

Yesterday, the New York Times is again guilty of belittling women, but this time it's in a review for the upcoming miniseries Game of Thrones. It starts off saying that there is a large cast of characters and should come with a warning like "If you can't count cards, please return to reruns of 'Sex and the City.'" Wow. I didn't even want to read what came after that. It's as if the author Gina Bellafante (obviously a woman herself) doubts that women have the mental capacity for keeping track of more than 5 characters. Maybe she assumes other women can't because of her own inability, but this is just a theory.

Anyway, she goes on to say that the sex in the show was obviously used to "[toss] in a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, that no woman alive would watch otherwise." I was almost speechless when I read this and the following comment that no woman stands up in her book club and demands to read The Hobbit over whatever the author thinks women stereotypically read in book clubs. This is a bold and completely untrue claim. If you go to any nerdy convention or event, there are more and more women attending. For example, with Magic the Gathering tournaments, I am usually one of the few women there. This last time I went to a prerelease, there were tons more than I had ever seen before. When I go to San Diego Comic-Con, there are a huge amount of women. To say that this show is obviously for men and women would have no interest is a huge insult to nerd girls everywhere. Even MSNBC realizes that female viewership is something that is sought after and very present for science fiction and fantasy. Many women aren't interested in the stereotypical vapid romantic comedies or tearjerker movies, but in films and shows with thought behind them and autonomous female characters. I am insulted that Ms. Bellafante only thinks women would tune in to see the sex and hot men. Maybe she hasn't met any geek girls, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Ms. Bellafante also seems to abhor science fiction and fantasy shows in general with her assertion that shows that deviate from "real world sociology" like Game of Thrones and True Blood "start to feel cheap, and we feel as though we have been placed in the hands of cheaters." I don't understand this at all. I wish she would have had some examples to back up this claim instead of just vaguely generalizing. I don't really know why she's even reviewing this show if she doesn't like the genre.

I don't know what's going on at The New York Times. This makes 2 offensive articles in 2 months. If they continue on this misogynistic vein, I think they will lose a lot of readers.

Personally, I had never heard of Game of Thrones before, but I was intrigued by the trailers and posters. It seems like a really awesome epic story, similar to Lord of the Rings. I'm definitely going to record it and watch it with my boyfriend. Usually I prefer urban fantasy to high fantasy like this because high fantasy tends to come off as a LotR ripoff to me. I haven't read a huge amount of it, so if you guys like any of this type of fantasy, I would love your recommendations.

* To give credit where credit is due, I wrote this in response to Amy Ratcliffe's rant about the Game of Thrones article from her website Geeks with Curves.


Elizabeth Twist said...

Although I am abundantly aware of rape culture and the misogynist attitudes and rhetoric that promote it, the examples you cite from the NYT article on that gang rape are totally shocking. Wow.

Are you aware of The Hathor Legacy? Jennifer Kesler and others on that site have extensively documented how and why the film industry perpetuates sexism.

Vampires and Tofu said...

I personally couldn't wait for Game of Thrones to premiere tonight and I loved it.
I'm a little puzzled by the writer of the article suggesting the sex had been thrown in for the women. Really?? All those boobies were for OUR benefit? Wow.
Gimme a break.
Anyway, I enjoy the books, the show, and am a proud SDCC attending geek girl as well.

vvb32 reads said...

what an ick article. certainly interesting to note. thanks for creating this rebuttal.

personally, love the hobbit!
and, i've got game of thrones on my to-watch list too.
nerd girls, unite ;-D